According to an article by Forbes, the traditional resume that we know today will be replaced by your online presence within the next decade. It’s common knowledge that employers, recruiters and even admissions officers in universities and schools do a “background check” on social media. This is to get a better idea of who you are as a person. They do that as one tends to be more natural on social media. There are fewer filters and the space is more personal. While a CV may give someone an idea of your skill set and academic qualifications, social media can give you so much more. It can reflect your ideologies in life, hobbies, interests, world views, and even political stances. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your digital presence.
A survey by the research firm, Harris Poll Online concluded that 52% of employers, “stalk” their candidates on social media, and 35% of applicants won’t even make the cut to interviews if they don’t find an online presence. So, if you’re applying for a job, you may want to do a social media clean up, save the photographs of drunken escapades for a personal account. Your digital presence may be the reason why you don’t get a good response to job applications.
Have a Strong Presence on Relevant Platforms
In an interview for CIO.com, Dawn Edmiston, Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing at the College of William and Mary stated, “I would definitely wonder about the background of a tech professional who had zero presence on social media, rather than the individual who has a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter presence, but prefers that their personal social media such as Facebook remains private,”. Whether you’re in IT, accounting or sales, you must have a strong presence on all platforms.
Why? Technology is best used to make people’s lives easier and more fulfilling. If you’re building technology for people, you need to have a profile that shows that you are people-centric. Your platforms should be a genuine, and controlled reflection of yourself. You should give a fair idea of your background, educational qualifications, and your hobbies or interests. If you feel uncomfortable sharing all this information, remember that a strong presence will reflect your communication skills, professional skills, and ideals, all of which are very important to employers.
Become an Ambassador of Your Skills
Did you know that one of the prime reasons for employers snooping around social media is to fact-check? Employers scrutinize your educational and occupational qualifications online and look for red flags. If you’ve lied about anything, you will get caught and you won’t get the job.
While showcasing your professional skills -be authentic and genuine. Employers pick up on that. For eg. while sharing an interesting article about Machine Learning, which happens to be your area of expertise, be sure to provide your own two bits. This is a great way to convey both, your professional knowledge as well as your communication skills.
Reveal the Real You, While being Respectful of Others
If you’re about to go and finally create that Facebook profile you’ve been putting off for years, only so you can flood your timeline with articles and videos about whatever it is that you do for a living, please take a pause. Like our parents would always say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So throw in the occasional picture of your pet or an adorable mother-daughter memory so that you seem more human and less like a robot! Reveal aspects of your personality other than what you do for a living. This will boost your profile. Do remember though that what is appropriate for Facebook may not be so for LinkedIn -so choose carefully!
Create an Experience, Not a Resume
There’s nothing less impressive than an IT professional with a poorly drafted and presented CV. Employers have to go through dozens of candidates while making a hire, and that dull, PDF file will do little to help you stand out. If you take the time to build a website, brownie points if you have a custom domain, then you will stand out. Also, a website will give you a chance to really showcase your portfolio in an interactive and aesthetic way. While mathematics is the building blocks of the universe, accounting can be a bit drab, make it interesting with your resume! Show your employer that you are passionate by building a resume that speaks louder than words. Website resumes are not reserved just for people with creative jobs, in fact, taking something which may be seemingly boring and making it fun and interactive is a valuable skill in itself!
Be Selective in What You Share
Before you post that red-eyed picture of you with a suggestive paper cup in your hand, think of the consequences. In a survey by Career Builder, research pointed out that 38% of all employers reject candidates who post pictures with alcohol or drugs. You may also want to stay clear of divisive issues. If you have an opinion, make sure that to temper it from the perspective of how you would like to be perceived. There are some strict no-noes (racism or advocating violence, for example, are more or less universally frowned-upon) so be mindful.
While it is important to be careful online, don’t feel too restricted. You can have a personality and be a professional too. The best professionals have an online presence that’s a combination.
Let’s end with a little food for thought. The IT industry is said to be the most social-savvy, with 76% of hiring managers resorting to social media checks during the hiring process. Of this, 48% said they were disapproving of the content posted by the candidate and rejected them immediately. Clearly, having a carefully put-together authentic social presence online has now become a necessity!